Seasonal trends and primary contributors to the low-frequency soundscape of the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary

TitleSeasonal trends and primary contributors to the low-frequency soundscape of the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsHaver, Samara M., Rand Zoe, Hatch Leila T., Lipski Danielle, Dziak Robert P., Gedamke Jason, Haxel Joseph, Heppell Scott A., Jahncke Jaime, Mckenna Megan F., Mellinger David K., Oestreich William K., Roche Lauren, Ryan John, and Van Parijs Sofie M.
JournalThe Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Volume148
Pagination845-858
ISBN Number0001-4966
EndNote Rec Number13287
Abstract

Passive acoustic monitoring of ocean soundscapes can provide information on ecosystem status for those tasked with protecting marine resources. In 2015, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) established a long-term, continuous, low-frequency (10?Hz?2?kHz) passive acoustic monitoring site in the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary (CBNMS), located offshore of the central United States of America (U.S.) west coast, near San Francisco, CA. The California Current flows southward along the coast in this area, supporting a diverse community of marine animals, including several baleen whale species. Acoustic data analysis revealed that both large vessels and vocalizing baleen whales contribute to the ambient soundscape of the CBNMS. Sound levels fluctuated by month with the highest levels in the fall and lowest levels in the summer. Throughout the year, very low-frequency (10?100?Hz) sound levels were most variable. Vessels and whales overlap in their contributions to ambient sound levels within this range, although vessel contributions were more omnipresent, while seasonal peaks were associated with vocalizing whales. This characterization of low-frequency ambient sound levels in the CBNMS establishes initial baselines for an important component of this site's underwater soundscape. Standardized monitoring of soundscapes directly supports NOAA's ability to evaluate and report on conditions within national marine sanctuaries.